Sam is one of the two titular characters of the Sam & Max franchise.
A member of the Freelance Police, Sam comes off as more level headed and less violent than his partner Max, albeit not by much. He typically wears a grayish film noir-styled suit, with a hat and a blue and black striped tie and also goes barefoot. In the games, he has a tendency to take everything he sees, and apparently keeps the items in a cardboard box that he carries inside his jacket.
Sam carries around a Smith & Wesson Model 29 44 Magnum revolver. It's incredible size lends it to "droop" while being held. In the comics, he is quick to use it but is a very lousy shot. In the Telltale episodes he can hit any object on the first shot but is very reluctant to use it against living things, even villains. The gun makes a single appearance in the animated series in episode 20, entitled "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." (when Sam and Max had just escaped the Commissioner's daughter's wedding and Sam says "I think the Commissioner would support our decision to employ rubber ammo and tear gas at this point!)
Sam is a 6-foot-tall, brown anthropomorphic dog with black pupils. He wears a grey fedora with a black band, as well as a grey suit with a white dress shirt, meant to mimic a typical noir detective outfit. He wears a comically large neck tie with black and blue stripes. Underneath his suit jacket, he presumably wears a leather shoulder holster. Despite his body being anthropomorphic, he only has four fingers (including his thumbs) and three toes. He refers to himself as an Irish wolfhound in On the Road.
Sam is prone to long-winded sentences filled with elaborate terminology. He is usually depicted as being very calm, rational and collected, preferring to solve things diplomatically rather than always resorting to violence. He rarely loses his temper and is able to react to panic-inducing situations with extreme calm. When he does get angry, however, he tends to react in an uncharacteristically savage manner. In They Stole Max's Brain, Sam shows his more violent manner of investigating then the previous episodes, which include from beating a gorilla for showing a dog sign, to using a gun on a COPS member. It is usually, and somewhat ironically, Max that calms him down and prevents him from acting upon his anger.
Although most of the time he acts like a human, Sam sometimes behaves like a dog. He has growled several times in the Telltale games, and his sobbing in Sam & Max Hit the Road sound similar to the whimpers of a dog. He seems to have an enhanced sense of smell; he was able to smell where Max parked the car in Monkeys Violating the Heavenly Temple, and located the cereal aisle in Beast from the Cereal Aisle and the concession stand in Night of the Cringing Wildebeest by their non-food scents. He has also been shown to enjoy dog treats.
He is very protective of Max, and will go at great lengths to keep him safe. He cares for his friends, but isn't above using them for his plans, such as when he manipulated Sybil to damage Lincoln's reputation in Abe Lincoln Must Die!.
He has a large sweet tooth, as during many of his adventures and assignments he can be seen enjoying a multitude of frozen treats, such as popsicles and ice cream sandwiches, especially in the comics. In Sam & Max Season Two he becomes self-conscious about his weight, particularly when seeing his future and past selves.
Max is Sam's long-time partner, best friend, sidekick, and loving husband. They met as children and attended junior-high together before becoming the Freelance Police. In most situations, Sam tends to play the straight man against Max's chaotic behavior. Sam is incredibly close to Max and will become tangibly uncomfortable when separated from him for any reason; he is willing to delve into great lengths to protect his little buddy. Unlike most people, Sam seems to admire Max's violent tendencies, for the most part. They have been married multiple times.
Alongside Max, Sam serves as a questionable father to the Geek. They seem to get along fairly well, often times with The Geek being the more responsible of the two. The Geek seems to care about both Sam and Max quite a lot for taking her in, despite having to clean up after them almost constantly.
Although only appearing once, he and Max seem to form a parental relationship with Gary. Helping him overcome his anger issues and resolve his relationship with his parents.
Sam appears to be annoyed by Lorne and will try to get him to leave whenever he shows up. Sam acts less hostile towards Lorne than Max does, but still holds an obvious distaste for him.
Sam admires his grandmother greatly. In the animated series, he mentions her often and values gifts from her, such as a bazooka she once gave him (seen in the last episode, The Final Episode, of the show.)
Sam seems to be on friendly terms with Bosco. Sam does his best to help Bosco out when it is relevant to a case, but otherwise he enjoys poking fun at Bosco and targeting his paranoia for his own amusement.
Sam is a good friend of Sybil's, with her expressing her trust in the duo several times. While Sybil's opinion of Max is understandably iffy, she seems to have a good opinion of Sam. This does not mean that Sam is immune to annoying Sybil, however, which he has proven several times to be quite good at.
Much like Max, Sam seems to tolerate Jimmy Two-teeth for the most part. They allow him to share their residence, but aren't afraid to get violent with him when there's a disagreement or they need something from him (i.e. the office phone in Culture Shock, or Coins in Reality 2.0)
As his short-term co-star on Midtown Cowboys, Sam did not seem to get too well acquainted with the overall uptight chicken.
Sam is on good terms with Agent Superball, though Superball's unreadable expressions and business centered focus on serving the president (Max) and state makes it hard to really understand what Superball thinks of him. However, in the final episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, Superball does appear to think highly of him, not having faith that Sam can save Max.
Sam and Max first met Stinky in Season 2, Ice Station Santa, at 'Stinky's Diner'. Neither Sam nor Max seem to care much for her dismissive attitude, and the fact that she refuses to call them by their real names. Initially, the duo thought Stinky killed Grandpa Stinky, but turns out it was all a misunderstanding. In Season 3, in Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, Sam plays along with Girl Stinky's lie to possibly get more information from her. He pretends to have been secretly dating her, and Stinky kisses him to make the story convincing. Sam did not seem to enjoy this experience, as it was followed by a lengthy awkward pause. Max expressed how this experience "...made him wish for the sweet release of death."
Both Sam and Max appear to have known Grandpa Stinky since they were pre-teens (evidenced in Season 2, Moai Better Blues.) and have frequented his diner. The tradition continuing till present day. All the while Grandpa Stinky remains with the same snarky attitude towards them.
Over the course of The Devil's Playhouse, Sam and Sal develop friendship.
Sam first met Momma Bosco in Season 2, Chariots of the Dogs. In Season 3, in Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, after seeing Momma Bosco's future from Max's Future Vision Goggles, when Max reads Sam's mind he hears him say that now Momma Bosco's corporeal again, maybe he'll ask her out. Momma Bosco also when viewing the "Samulacra" or "Dogglegangers", seemed to react positively to the clones wearing only the gold shorts, saying "Mm-Mm! Those sure don't leave much to the imagination." Sam appeared conflicted to this remark.
Sam is on good terms with the noir detective Flint Paper, being a fellow detective that lives in the office next to him. Sam doesn't mind Flint's violent behaviors (presumably because of his partner's violent tendencies) treating him as an equal and even taking a thing or two out of Flint's book in The Devil's Playhouse, when Max's brain gets stolen.
Sam acts as a mentor and father figure to the player.
Sam's family first appeared in the comic The Damned Don't Dance, but only his father was explicitly pointed out. In Hit the Road, his mother leaves a message on the messaging machine reminding him to not get shot. Sam's grandmother, Ruth, who served as a prison warden and fought in the Cold War, was mentioned in some comics and sketches, but not actually seen until the animated series, in the episode Christmas Bloody Christmas. The Final Episode mentions that his family lives in Alaska. This episode also mentions his grandfather, Leo, who "bought it in the Big One", and shows Sam's sister. In the episode Tonight We Love, Sam is reminded of his Aunt Trudy, who has some sort of problem with knives, when he and Max go to Love Land. Finally, he has an Uncle Rallo to whom Sam sold his baseball card collection for a kidney, not wondering why his uncle needed it until later. In the Season Three episode of the Telltale series, The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, Sam's great-grandfather is shown. His name is Sameth, and he appears to have worked with Max's great-grandfather, Maximus.
Possible Previous Jobs
- Stewardess/Flight Attendant
- Petting Zoo Caretaker
Likes and Dislikes
- The Geek
- The color orange
- Glazed McGuffins
- Going for car rides
- Snack foods
- Cherry pie
- Protecting the innocent
- Killing Nazis/Klansmen
- Sticky buns
- Hannah Montana
- Shooting out the office window at passersby
- Running over things
- Coffee with a shot of cream and two scoops of sugar
- Action Figures
- "Treeetz" puppy treats
- Fudgey Freezes
- Moody noir settings
- Bluegrass music
- His DeSoto
- The Rubber Pants Commandos
- Playing Fizzball
- Buddy Hackett
- Highway Surfing
- Heavy weaponry
- Throwing Max into the air
- His banjo
- Max being consistently reckless of his own safety
- Max mocking him
- The thought of anything bad happening to Max
- Pink bellies (the act of being held down on your back while having your belly slapped until pink)
- Hugh Bliss
- General Skun-ka'pe
- Criminals, villains, and bullies
- The Desoto getting stolen
- Told to pick up objects he doesn't want to (or can't altogether) pick up
- Being called McGruff
- Being alone
- Being touched (sometimes)
- The Soda Poppers
- Having his mind read
- Cracks about his weight
- Max's brain being stolen
- Max being transformed into an elder god
- His weight
- Being seen naked
- Being mistaken for a bear or a cat
When talking to the Commissioner on the phone, Sam's part of the conversation is typically completely minimal, consisting only of one word reactions to what the commissioner says. In voiced appearances, these follow each other so quickly that it seems impossible for the commissioner to actually tell Sam the things he does.
Sam is known for his famous, long-winded non-sequiturs. The following is a comprehensive list of these non-sequiturs, collected from the Telltale games, comics, and cartoon:
"Jiminy Christmas eve in a padlocked sweatbox!"
"Great gouts of steaming magma on a beeline for the orphanage!"
"Sweet alligator dentures soaking in formaldehyde!"
"Holy underpants draped to the mast of a sinking pork rind freighter!"
"Holy cripes on toast!"
"Jumping elephant fleas!"
"Great suffering lab rats!"
"Sweet mother of double jeopardy backstroking in butterscotch!"
"Sweet jellyfish paste on a stick!"
"Sweet mother of all quiz show scandals!"
"Holy chipmunk arias warbling out of a souped-up 78 speed turntable!"
"Holy cap-wearing catfish flopping a crime beat!"
"Sweet mother of all things good and plenty!"
"Sweet mother of all things hairy and disgusting!"
"Holy mace-wielding minotaur kings!"
"Holy domesticated ursines!"
"Holyoke, Massachusetts!" (used twice)
"Holy highway hotpants!"
"Great salmon-colored cinnamon sticks on marzipan!"
"Sweet mother of bleary-eyed gambling addiction!"
"Sweet second mortgages on a summer home!"
"Holy Hannah hold the phone!"
"Great Coleco’s ghost!"
"Curdled goats milk on a warm summer’s day!"
"Sweet suffering Saint Sebastian on the sousaphone in a short story by Susan Sontag!"
"Blessed scuba diving Buddha on a banana boat with cocktail onions and a map to the stars’ homes!"
"Great grinning head of John the Baptist in a porkpie hat stuffed in a rhinestone bowling bag!"
"By the Greek goddess Selene in a chariot with dual overhead cams and “Silver Foxx” mudflaps!"
"Brain salad in a blender!"
"By the sacred sideburns of Isaac Asimov!"
"Holy knuckle-cracking kringles on a bullet train with a sack full of ketchup-covered cheese logs!"
"Holy jumping weasel fritters on a hot cross bun!"
"Jumping jacks and half stacks of hat racks!"
"By the ruby-red goiters of Rube Goldberg!"
"Mighty Kamehameha doing doughnuts in a splintered paddleboat!"
"Gin-running George A. Romero in a baby-doll tee shirt outside the food court with a forty-three dollar gift certificate!"
"Holy mother of pearl in a sidecar going 80!"
"Suffering serpent and the rainbow!"
"Rampaging Roy Neary with a meat and two sides!"
"Sweet mother of mole sauce!"
"Great transmogrifying vapor wolves of Rigel-17 on a booster rocket through the Van Allen belt!"
"Heaping helpings of tachyons in a gravy boat at the Grand Duchess’ bat mitzvah!"
"Sister Mary Francis in low heels walking away!"
"Holy heaping helpings of Herodotus on a bass with Marshall stacks and a wah-wah pedal!"
"Thundering tintypes of Teddy Roosevelt in a three-wheeled baby carriage with a bonus jar of moustache wax!"
"Holy Hercule Poirot in a blood-soaked bathtub with a full set of dental records and a mud-caked workboot with two missing treads!"
"Cascading Kewpie dolls in the four-color funny pages smeared with spaghetti!"
"Faith and begorrah!"
"Holy mother of Sammun-Mak dancing the Carioca with the Priests of Bast!"
"Sweet hopping Horus on a two-headed asp!"
"Sweet mother of Watson and Crick gallivanting with Rosalind Franklin on a spiral staircase!"
"Holy wheezing bellows of Krakatoa!"
"Holy H.P. Lovecraft spinning through the 13 abyssal planes on a propane grill!"
"Great galloping Golgi in lipstick on a Vespa with a leather-bound day planner!"
"Great day in the morning!"
"Consecrated Kreskin on a communion wafer!"
"Holy beer-battered Princes of Maine and Kings of New England in a glass-bottom boat with a trip-hop DJ and the second-runner up in the Miss Teen Oklahoma pageant!"
"Holy jumping mother o’ god in a side car with chocolate jimmies and a lobster bib!"
"By the dog-headed god of the dead, Khontamenti!"
"By the papyrus staff-wielding goddess Nephthys!"
"Sweet Jesus in a smoking birch-bark canoe!"
"Holy Hannah Montanna!"
Many comics and cartoon episodes, as well as Hit the Road and a few Telltale episodes, end with Sam saying this line or a variation on it in response to something Max says (Max's end varies):
"You crack me up, little buddy."
Sometimes when Max suggests a course of action in a situation, Sam goes along with it if he finds nothing wrong with Max's reasoning.
"Can't think of a reason not to."
Young Sam has been in all three mediums Sam and Max has been in. Always shown round and stocky, he has a reserved and shy personality with a few mentions of breaking into tears because of bullies. Max always sticks up for him by beating up whoever Sam says picked on him. Young Sam is usually shown to wear a black T-Shirt with Max's face on it. No explanation on why such a shirt would even exist has ever been given.
But when he is in his element and/or comfortable, Young Sam is positive and outgoing. He was quite rude to his older self in Chariots of the Dogs.
In the Telltale game series, it is revealed that he is a computer wiz and loves building things from scratch, including Bluster Blaster. He is also shy around girls and doesn't bother with them, because they're only interested in Max. However, Max mentions in Bright Side of the Moon that Sam missed his chance to go to the prom with Melanie Prendergast, so he mustn't have been too shy about asking girls out. In addition, because of his passive nature, Max steps all over him.
Not much is known about Sam's teenage years other than he may have played sports, was into science, and found high school "awkward". He was also fairly tall and skinny.
Old Sam/Future Sam
Old Sam was first seen in the animated series' episode The Dysfunction of the Gods where Sam and Max undergo rapid aging. He sometimes walks around with a cane, wears old bifocals, and suffers from lapses of judgment.
In the Telltale episode Chariots of the Dogs, "all those years of adventuring have taken their toll" on Future Sam. He suffers from dementia, and when talked to only responds with the interaction quotes from the first game, Sam & Max: Hit the Road. He maneuvers around in a wheelchair (with a design based on Davros from Doctor Who).
- In Poker Night 2, Claptrap asks Sam if he dates humans or other talking dogs. Sam replies, "Don't tell anyone, but I'm kind of off the market right now." As he says this, he gestures vaguely behind him towards Max. This implies that they are together at this time.
- In This Time It's Virtual, Max mentions Sam's failed attempts at romance with two women named Susan and Debbie, which means that Sam may be bisexual.
- In Chariots of the Dogs, Sam asks his younger self if he would want to be a boss cop like him. In response young Sam asks, "Do I have to be fat as you too?" after this, Sam pulls out a gun, but is stopped by the time machine elevator before he could use it. This implies that Sam would shoot a kid for calling him fat, even if that kid is himself.
- Sam won a surfing trophy back at school, mainly because he cried to the P.E teacher and then begged Max to club his competitors in the knees.
- In Poker Night 2, Sam reveals that he auditioned for the role of Bigby, the main protagonist of the Telltale game The Wolf Among Us, but Telltale rejected him because he wasn't "wolfy" enough (and because he needed to lose a few pounds, according to Max).
- Sam is shown to love chocolate, despite the fact that it is poisonous to dogs.
- Bill Farmer revealed in an interview he and Nick Jameson completed two or three days of recording on Sam & Max: Freelance Police, spread out over different months, but then never heard anything from LucasArts. Farmer ultimately found out that the game was cancelled upon looking it up online. He expressed disappointment at this, saying that Hit the Road had some of the best writing he has ever performed and that he would have liked to reprise Sam.
- Sam has a debilitating fear of being seen naked.
- Sam has been addressed as Samuel three times, by Bosco in Situation: Comedy, The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball, and Max in Bright Side of the Moon. And another time by the queen in Sam & Max: This Time It's Virtual.
- According to Mike Stemmle, Sam likes Hannah Montana.